The global spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) is an understandable cause of concern. We’re acting quickly to ensure that our staff and customers are protected and that we can continue business as usual as much as possible.

This page provides answers to questions that we anticipate our Centres, Assessors and External Quality Assurers will have. Most of the questions were updated on Monday 18th May. Please review the page as a whole again to understand all these updates.

Alongside these questions, we are also publishing weekly updates that feature additional key information. Please click the links below to view these posts.

April 27th: Updates on Functional Skills, Gateway Evidence, Break in Learning and Alternatives to Observations

May 4th: Updates on Healthcare, Retailer, Hospitality and Catering, Teaching Assistant, and Customer Service standards

May 11th: Updates on Teaching Assistant, Customer Service, and Hospitality standards

May 19th: Updates on ESFA Apprenticeship Certificates, Lockdown restrictions, Customer Service and Hospitality and Catering standards

Last Updated: 18.05.2020

GENERAL QUESTIONS

Is Training Qualifications UK (TQUK) still open for business?
Yes, it’s business as usual here at TQUK. In line with government rules, all of our staff are now working from home. Everyone has the same set-up at home as they did in the office, so we can continue to deliver our usual high level of service during this difficult time.

END-POINT ASSESSMENT QUESTIONS

GENERAL QUESTIONS

What is Training Qualifications UK doing as part of the wider End-Point Assessment Organisation sector to manage and support assessment practice during the COVID-19 period?
We continue to work very closely with colleagues in the sector including other EPAOs, FAB, AELP, External Quality Assurance Providers and the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education to monitor the situation closely, and seek to find practical solutions to enable assessments to continue to take place safely and in line with Government guidance. This has included us taking an active role in several IfATE Task Force meetings to propose alternative assessment methods to temporarily replace practical based Observation assessments as well as engaging with EPAO and Employer forums. We are committed to maintaining this level of interaction and engagement throughout this developing situation.

What is Training Qualifications UK’s position on remote assessment?
We are strong advocates of remote assessment and for an ever-growing large number of our Standards, the End-Point Assessment can be conducted completely remotely. Please see some standard specific questions below for details of where alternative assessment methods can now be applied.

What is Training Qualifications UK’s stance on on-site assessments during the COVID outbreak?
At this time we are following Government guidance in relation to social distancing to support the efforts to control the spread of the infection. This currently means that we are not conducting any on-site assessments. However, we are still very much active in delivering assessments where remote delivery can be appropriately applied. Equally, many of our standards can be delivered fully remotely with even more flexibiliites and alternative assessment methods in place as temporary measures to support assessments to continue to take place remotely.

What happens if an Apprentice’s contract is due to expire before they have had chance to take their End-Point Assessment?
The ESFA guidance states that the Training Providers and/ or Employer are responsible for the extending of an Apprentice’s contract or finding them new employment within 12 weeks. In extenuating circumstances, the ESFA will provide practical support in securing alternative employment for Apprentices.

End-Point Assessment can still take place where an Apprentice is furloughed, as can training.

GATEWAY QUESTIONS

Are we able to undertake the Gateway meeting remotely?
Yes, no problem at all! As we still require sign-off, we are able to accept electronic signatures where possible, scanned documents and email declarations, alongside the completed record form.

Is there any relaxation in relation to any of the mandatory qualification requirements to enable an Apprentice to progress through Gateway to undertake their End-Point Assessment?
Not at this time. IfATE have confirmed that in order for the apprenticeship programme to be complete and valid, all outlined mandatory qualifications including Functional Skills must have been successfully achieved in line with the individual assessment plan prior to an Apprentice commencing through Gateway to undertake End-Point Assessment. (Please see more detail under Functional Skills).

Where another Awarding Organisation is not able to print certificates can you accept other forms of evidence to enable an Apprentice to be submitted at Gateway?
Yes – there is no change from our usual practice here. We already have a range of approved evidence types we can accept, such as exam result slips etc. Please contact us directly to discuss this, as required.

Additionally, the ESFA have confirmed that whilst some Awarding Organisations are currently unable to issue certificates, Training Providers may temporarily use a confirmation email from the Awarding Organisation as evidence of achievement.

For authentication, the confirmation email must detail the below and be sent to epa@tquk.org and include the following information

  • Apprentice details
  • Certificate run number
  • Unique number

If it may not be possible for all included assessments to be completed should I still progress the Apprentice through Gateway?
Yes, wherever possible End-Point Assessment should operate on a business-as-usual basis and Apprentices should be progressed through Gateway. We are doing our best to enable as many assessments to still take place. A 12 week End-Point Assessment extension and/ or Break in Learning can be applied during the End-Point Assessment period, as required, to enable certain assessments to be postponed until it is safe for these assessments to take place. (Please see more detail under Break in Learning)

I have an Apprentice who is nearing Gateway, but they are now working from home. Are assessments still able to take place?
We are being as proactive as we can to support assessments to still take place. At present our primary method of assessment delivery is via remote options. Remote assessments brings the added benefit that it can be delivered from a diverse range of locations. Please see our Controlled Environment Guidance, to help verify requirements. We are at such time, in line with government guidelines, unable to conduct an on-site assessments.

What happens if my Apprentice progresses through Gateway but their workplace is closed due to the current health situation before all of their assessments are complete?
We continue to work quickly to allocate appropriate End-Point Assessors to Apprentices within 48 hours of them progressing through Gateway. As required, our Assessors can work with Apprentices and Employers to schedule assessments to support their timely completion.

Should an Apprentice be working from home or unable to attend their usual workplace, we will work with the Apprentice to complete assessments remotely, where possible, to support them in achieving their Apprenticeship.

BREAK IN LEARNING QUESTIONS

What is the maximum delay in learning allowed during the End-Point Assessment stage?
Apprentices that are ready for Gateway should be progressed through this stage. For Standards where the Assessment plan specifies a time limit by which End-Point Assessment must be completed post-Gateway, this may be extended by up to 12 weeks where their assessments are not fully able to take place as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Is an Apprentice allowed to have more than one break in learning during their End-Point Assessment?
Yes, to support individual circumstances several smaller breaks could be applied. However at present, for Standards where the Assessment Plan specifies a time limit by which End-Point Assessment must be completed post-Gateway, this can only be extended by up to 12 weeks.

How do I record breaks in learning?
All breaks in learning longer than four weeks pre-Gateway or during the End-Point Assessment period, must be recorded by the Training Provider on the ILR. We will internally record all pauses/ extensions to End-Point Assessment for an Apprentice and inform the relevant External Quality Assurance Provider. Please send all such requests through to epa@tquk.org

What happens where a 12 week extension will not be sufficient to enable a viable assessment opportunity for an Apprentice?
At present, we are following the given guidance that supports 12-week extensions, where the Assessment Plan specifies a time limit by which End-Point Assessment must be completed post-Gateway. Both IfATE and ESFA are monitoring the situation closely and will provide further guidance, as required. Where business operations are able to resume during this period, but workloads are still not sufficient to enable fair assessment opportunities, please discuss with us as we can seek to apply for individual extensions, as required. All such extensions will be reviewed on an individual basis by the relevant External Quality Assurance Providers.

What happens if an Apprentice completes one or more of their assessments but is then unable to complete the remaining one(s)?
We are working to support as many assessments to still take place as possible. Where it is not practicable or safe to complete an assessment we may need to pause and postpone assessments. In these instances, a break in learning may be required.

For Standards where the Assessment Plan specifies a time limit by which End-Point Assessment must be completed post-Gateway, this may be extended by up to 12 weeks.

FUNCTIONAL SKILLS QUESTIONS

My Apprentice is on a Level 2 Apprenticeship Standard which requires evidence of an “attempt” of Level 2 Functional Skills assessments before progressing through Gateway. Is there any relaxation of this during this period?
Yes! This requirement has been temporarily relaxed. This relaxation is applicable to all Apprentices who progress through Gateway before 31st July 2020.

Level 2 Apprentices still require a Level 1 Functional Skills in English and/or maths in order to complete the apprenticeship, and Apprentices undertaking a Level 3 or higher apprenticeship still need to hold or achieve an approved Level 2 Functional Skills English and maths qualification.

A record should be kept by providers if a Level 2 Apprentice did not take the Level 2 assessments during this time. There will be no requirement for those Apprentices who are passed through Gateway to go back and take the Level 2 Functional Skills test.

To assist you we have uploaded a document titled “”Functional Skills Level 2 Exemption Form”. This can be found under the General Support Materials tab on VERVE EPA. Training Providers are asked to read and use this form to upload in lieu of attempt of assessment evidence when submitting an Apprentice through Gateway.

All other Functional Skills evidence should be provided/ uploaded, as per usual requirements.

My Apprentice is on a Level 3 or above Apprenticeship Standard which requires evidence of Functional Skills at Level 2 attainment before progressing through Gateway. Is there any relaxation of this during this period?
Currently the requirement for all Apprentices to have evidence of them having attained a Level 2 Functional Skills or equivalent qualification remains. As per our usual practice, we are able to accept wider evidence forms outside of certifications, if your Awarding Organisation is currently unable to issue certificates.

ASSESSMENT QUESTIONS

The standard my Apprentice is registered on includes a Multiple Choice Question Test. Can this be undertaken without a person being present to undertake invigilation?
Yes! Our Exam platform has built in software capabilities that enables remote invigilation to take place without a person needing to be present. Upon the Apprentice submitting their completed assessment electronically, our Assessment team can review and verify the invigilation remotely. Even better, this does not cause any delays to our fast results turnaround!

This method relies upon the use of a PC/Mac with webcam functionality and a secure, stable internet connection. The Assessment runs on a Google Chrome web browser. Apprentices will need Adobe Reader to access and edit the invigilation and summary documents. Chrome and Reader are both available as free downloads from the internet.

The standard my Apprentice is on includes a practical observation as part of the End-Point Assessment. Can this assessment still take place?
At present, we are following Government guidelines and as such, we are not conducting any on-site assessments. We have been actively working with the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education, Chairs of Trailblazer Groups and other End-Point Assessment Organisations to review individual standards to determine if a temporary alternative assessment method can be implemented in place of such observations. Such agreements have now been approved for nearly all of our standards where Observation is a feature. (Please see Standard Specific updates for more detail). We continue to advise Training Providers to engage directly with us if they require greater flexibility for their Apprentices so we can work directly with you to hopefully source a solution.

I have an Apprentice who is nearing Gateway. They are still active in their job role and remain working from their usual place of employment. Are assessments still able to take place?
We are being as proactive as we can to support assessments to still take place. At present our primary method of assessment delivery is via remote options. Remote assessment brings the added benefit that it can be delivered from a diverse range of locations. Please see our Controlled Environment Guidance to help verify requirements. We are at such time, in line with government guidelines, unable to conduct any on-site assessments.

The assessment plan requires the Apprentice’s Employer to be present during their Professional Discussion or Interview assessment. However due to current workplace closure the Employer is not able to be present. Will this prevent the assessment taking place?
No. We will work with the Apprentice to progress with this assessment. Typically the role of the Employer is to be a silent observer, providing clarification for the End-Point Assessor, as required. As such, and due to the role not being involved with forming an assessment decision, we are able to mitigate this in order to support the Apprentice and give them the opportunity to complete the assessment as long as the Apprentice gives consent for this approach.

My Apprentice and their Employer have previously selected their assessment preferences as Face to Face. Is it possible to change these now to remote where it is not possible for onsite assessments to take place?
Absolutely yes! At this time we are only conducting remote assessments in line with Government guidelines. It is likely that, should we receive a Gateway request for Face to Face assessments during this period, our team will be in contact to discuss offering a remote option, where applicable and we are able to do so.

My Apprentice has progressed through Gateway. They have selected to undertake one of the approved alternative assessment methods, in place of a Practical Observation. If lockdown restrictions are lifted before this alternative assessment is carried out will they be required to revert back to undertake the assessment as an onsite Practical Observation?
At present there is no prescribed deadline for when the approved alternative assessments will end. It is likely such transition back to the usual assessment method as per the published Assessment Plan will be a phased and Standard specific process. We will keep all Training Providers and as necessary Apprentices, updated on any planned changes.

CERTIFICATION QUESTIONS

My Apprentice has completed their End-Point Assessment but their usual place of work is closed. What will happen to their Apprenticeship Certificate?
All Apprenticeship Certificates are issued by the ESFA directly to the Employer. Upon submitting the claim we use Employer details as provided to us within VERVE EPA. We have recently been made aware that the ESFA are currently NOT issuing any Apprenticeship Certificates and we await a further update from them on this. Where Apprentice may have completed prior to the lockdown, any issued Certificates that may have been posted out to Employer sites which are closed will have been returned to the ESFA. As we understand more about this changes to this process we will update this response. In the meantime if you have any concerns over long delayed Certificates not reaching your Apprentice please do contact us directly and we can confirm a submission date and seek to follow up with the ESFA where it is possible for us to do so.

STANDARD-SPECIFIC QUESTIONS

HAIR PROFESSIONAL

Are you still conducting assessments for Apprentices on the Hair Professional standard?
Unfortunately, we will not currently be conducting any onsite End-Point Assessments for the Hair Professional Apprenticeship standard. Given the nature of the assessment we feel unable to conduct the required assessment safely, in line with the current government advice linked to social distancing as a result of the COVID- 19 pandemic.

Training Qualifications UK, City & Guilds and VTCT have collectively agreed to delay practical observations for Hair Professional and Beauty Standards during the COVID-19 outbreak. Please read our joint statement for more information.

TEACHING ASSISTANT

This standard includes an Observation assessment, are you able to offer an alternative remote based assessment?
Yes! Following joint work from the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education, Ofqual, The Chair of the Trailblazer group and several End-Point Assessment Organisations an alternative assessment method has been approved.

Apprentices will now have the option to undertake a Reflective Statement with Question & Answer Session assessment in place of the Observation assessment. (Please see our Standard Specific document on VERVE EPA for more detail)

We are now operationally LIVE with the delivery of this alternative assessment method.

HEALTHCARE SUPPORT WORKER

This standard includes an Observation assessment, are you able to offer an alternative remote based assessment?
Yes! Following joint work from the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education, Ofqual, The Chair of the Trailblazer group and several End-Point Assessment Organisations an alternative assessment method has been approved.

Apprentices will now have the option to undertake a Reflective Statement with Question & Answer Session assessment in place of the Observation assessment. (Please see our Standard Specific document on VERVE EPA for more detail)

We are now operationally LIVE with the delivery of this alternative assessment method.

SENIOR HEALTHCARE SUPPORT WORKER

This standard includes an Observation assessment, are you able to offer an alternative remote based assessment?
Yes! Following joint work from the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education, Ofqual, The Chair of the Trailblazer group and several End-Point Assessment Organisations an alternative assessment method has been approved.

Apprentices will now have the option to undertake a Reflective Statement with Question & Answer Session assessment in place of the Observation assessment. (Please see our Standard Specific document on VERVE EPA for more detail)

We are now operationally LIVE with the delivery of this alternative assessment method.

HEALTHCARE ASSISTANT PRACTITIONER

This standard includes an Observation assessment, are you able to offer an alternative remote based assessment?
Yes! Following joint work from the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education, Ofqual, The Chair of the Trailblazer group and several End-Point Assessment Organisations an alternative assessment method has been approved.

Apprentices will now have the option to undertake a Reflective Statement with Question & Answer Session assessment in place of the Observation assessment. (Please see our Standard Specific document on VERVE EPA for more detail)

We are now operationally LIVE with the delivery of this alternative assessment method.

CUSTOMER SERVICE SPECIALIST

This standard includes an Observation assessment, are you able to offer an alternative remote based assessment?
Yes! Following joint work from the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education, Ofqual, The Chair of the Trailblazer group and several End-Point Assessment Organisations an alternative assessment method has been approved.

Apprentices will now have the option to undertake a Witness Testimony with Question & Answer Session assessment in place of the Observation assessment. (Please see our Standard Specific document on VERVE EPA for more detail)

We are now operationally LIVE with the delivery of this alternative assessment method.

CUSTOMER SERVICE PRACTITIONER

This standard includes an Observation assessment, are you able to offer an alternative remote based assessment?
Yes! Following joint work from the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education, Ofqual, The Chair of the Trailblazer group and several End-Point Assessment Organisations an alternative assessment method has been approved.

Apprentices will now have the option to undertake a Witness Testimony with Question & Answer Session assessment in place of the Observation assessment. (Please see our Standard Specific document on VERVE EPA for more detail)

We are now operationally LIVE with the delivery of this alternative assessment method.

RETAILER

This standard includes an Observation assessment, are you able to offer an alternative remote based assessment?
Yes! Following joint work from the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education, the EQA Provider, The Chair of the Trailblazer group and several End-Point Assessment Organisations an alternative assessment method has been approved.

Apprentices will now have the option to submit an On-Programme Evidence Portfolio accompanied by a Question & Answer Session assessment in place of the Observation assessment. (Please see our Standard Specific document on VERVE EPA for more detail)

We will be operationally LIVE with the delivery of this alternative assessment method before the end of May.

HOSPITALITY TEAM MEMBER

This standard includes an Observation assessment, are you able to offer an alternative remote based assessment?
Yes! Following joint work from the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education, the EQA Provider, The Chair of the Trailblazer group and several End-Point Assessment Organisations an alternative assessment method has been approved.

Apprentices will now have the option to submit an On-Programme Evidence Portfolio accompanied by a Question & Answer Session assessment in place of the Observation assessment. (Please see our Standard Specific document on VERVE EPA for more detail)

We will be operationally LIVE with the delivery of this alternative assessment method from Tuesday 26th May.

HOSPITALITY SUPERVISOR

This standard includes an Observation assessment, are you able to offer an alternative remote based assessment?
Yes! Following joint work from the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education, the EQA Provider, The Chair of the Trailblazer group and several End-Point Assessment Organisations an alternative assessment method has been approved.

Apprentices will now have the option to submit an On-Programme Evidence Portfolio accompanied by a Question & Answer Session assessment in place of the Observation assessment. (Please see our Standard Specific document on VERVE EPA for more detail)

We will be operationally LIVE with the delivery of this alternative assessment method from Tuesday 26th May.

PRODUCTION CHEF

This standard includes an Observation assessment, are you able to offer an alternative remote based assessment?
Yes! Following joint work from the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education, the EQA Provider, The Chair of the Trailblazer group and several End-Point Assessment Organisations an alternative assessment method has been approved.

Apprentices will now have the option to submit an On-Programme Evidence Portfolio accompanied by a Question & Answer Session assessment in place of the Observation assessment. (Please see our Standard Specific document on VERVE EPA for more detail)

We will be operationally LIVE with the delivery of this alternative assessment method from Tuesday 26th May.

SENIOR PRODUCTION CHEF

This standard includes an Observation assessment, are you able to offer an alternative remote based assessment?
Yes! Following joint work from the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education, the EQA Provider, The Chair of the Trailblazer group and several End-Point Assessment Organisations an alternative assessment method has been approved.

Apprentices will now have the option to submit an On-Programme Evidence Portfolio accompanied by a Question & Answer Session assessment in place of the Observation assessment.

(Please see our Standard Specific document on VERVE EPA for more detail)

We will be operationally LIVE with the delivery of this alternative assessment method from Tuesday 26th May.

CHEF DE PARTIE

This standard includes an Observation assessment, are you able to offer an alternative remote based assessment?
Yes! Following joint work from the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education, the EQA Provider, The Chair of the Trailblazer group and several End-Point Assessment Organisations alternative assessment methods have been approved.

Practical Observation
Apprentices will now have the option to submit an On-Programme Evidence Portfolio accompanied by a Question & Answer Session assessment in place of the Observation assessment.

Culinary Challenge Observation
Apprentices will now have the option to submit On-Programme & MOCK EPA Evidence accompanied by a Question & Answer Session assessment in place of the Culinary Challenge assessment. Please note this may not be a viable option for all Apprentices and DELAY may still be required

(Please see our Standard Specific document on VERVE EPA for more detail)

We will be operationally LIVE with the delivery of this alternative assessment method from Tuesday 26th May.

COMMIS CHEF

This standard includes an Observation assessment, are you able to offer an alternative remote based assessment?
Yes! Following joint work from the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education, the EQA Provider, The Chair of the Trailblazer group and several End-Point Assessment Organisations alternative assessment methods have been approved.

Practical Observation
Apprentices will now have the option to submit an On-Programme Evidence Portfolio accompanied by a Question & Answer Session assessment in place of the Observation assessment.

Culinary Challenge Observation
Apprentices will now have the option to submit On-Programme & MOCK EPA Evidence accompanied by a Question & Answer Session assessment in place of the Culinary Challenge assessment. Please note this may not be a viable option for all Apprentices and DELAY may still be required

(Please see our Standard Specific document on VERVE EPA for more detail)

We will be operationally LIVE with the delivery of this alternative assessment method from Tuesday 26th May.

ASSESSOR/COACH

This standard includes an Observation assessment, are you able to offer an alternative remote based assessment?
Yes! Whilst a formal alternative assessment method has not been approved, there is some flexibility we can apply to support some assessments to still take place.

Where an Apprentice has adapted their own practice and is routinely conducting Assessing/ Coaching sessions virtually it is permissible for us to undertake the required Observation assessment via remote methods. Please note this may not be suited to all Apprentices and Training Providers should discuss this with us on an individual Apprentice basis.

LEARNING MENTOR

This standard includes an Observation assessment, are you able to offer an alternative remote based assessment?
Yes! Whilst a formal alternative assessment method has not been approved, there is some flexibility we can apply to support some assessments to still take place.

Where an Apprentice has adapted their own practice and is routinely conducting Mentoring sessions virtually it is permissible for us to undertake the required Observation assessment via remote methods. Please note this may not be suited to all Apprentices and Training Providers should discuss this with us on an individual Apprentice basis.

NURSING STANDARDS

What adjustments have been made for Registered Nurse (RN) Degree Apprentices and Nursing Associate (NA) Apprentices?
While we don’t offer those Standards, we feel it’s important to broadcast the flexibilities that the IfATE has made. The Institute has stated:

“With immediate effect and during the Covid-19 crisis any RN and NA apprentices who have:

  • Completed the Nursing and Midwifery Council approved programme
  • Been assessed by the NMC as having permanently met the requirements for Professional Registration
  • Have passed through the apprenticeship gateway

Will be regarded to have met the End Point Assessment (EPA) requirements and have achieved their apprenticeship.”

For more information, please visit the IfATE website.

What if my challenge is not listed on this list of Frequently Asked Questions?
Whilst we are doing our best to keep this list updated, we appreciate it will not cover all eventualities. Please email epa@tquk.org or call the office on 03333 583 344 so that we can provide you with tailored support to meet your needs. Our aim is to keep assessments running wherever possible!

If you would like to view the full FAQ with Awarding questions answered as well, please visit our Awarding website here.

How TQUK Can Help You

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